By Cara Aungst
Innovation Park-based BioMagnetic Solutions, which is part of Gamma Biosciences, a leading provider of tools and technologies for cell and gene therapy manufacturing, announced a strategic collaboration with Lonza. Lonza is the preferred global partner to the pharmaceutical, biotech and nutrition markets with sales of CHF 5.4 billion with a CORE EBITDA of CHF 1.7 billion in Full-Year 2021.
Under the multi-year agreement, BioMagnetic Solutions will supply its proprietary research and cGMP manufacturing grade FerroSelect™ ferrofluids and monoclonal antibody reagents to Lonza for use in developing CAR-T and other immunotherapeutic products using Lonza's Cocoon® Platform.
“This is tremendous news,” Ted Liberti, chief commercial officer at BioMagnetic Solutions, said. “It’s great news for State College. One of our key superpowers is making ferrofluids here and creating clinical grade GMP antibodies and FerroSelect reagents that will make a worldwide impact in the manufacture of clinical-grade GMP cell and gene therapy products.”
Gamma Biosciences acquired State College-born BioMagnetic Solutions in January 2021 and, in November 2021, announced that the company would remain in Happy Valley, with a multi-million dollar cGMP-grade production facility located in Innovation Park.
Liberti said the collaboration with Lonza is one more step in leveraging the company’s proprietary ferrofluid technology that is poised to revolutionize cell selection for GMP CAR-T cell & gene therapy product manufacture — and Lonza representatives agree that collaborating with BioMagnetic Solutions expands their cell therapy industry offerings.
"We are looking forward to working together with the team at Gamma Biosciences to offer cell and gene therapy developers added cell selection functionality on the Cocoon® Platform" said Adam Bryan, vice president of personalized medicines at Lonza. "The BioMagnetic Solutions ferrofluid technology provides efficient, high-performance cell selection reagents for research, clinical and commercial-scale cell separations in a workflow that can be easily integrated into our automated, closed-system Cocoon® manufacturing platform. This collaboration speaks to Lonza's commitment to expanding the flexibility and functionality of our automated manufacturing technology to address a broader range of needs for the cell therapy industry."
“It’s great news for State College. One of our key superpowers is making ferrofluids here and creating clinical grade GMP antibodies and FerroSelect reagents that will make a worldwide impact in the manufacture of clinical-grade GMP cell and gene therapy products.”
"We are thrilled to collaborate with Lonza in further developing and adapting FerroSelect reagents for use with the Cocoon® Platform," added Phil Vanek, chief technology officer at Gamma Biosciences. "The Lonza platform can be an alternative to our FerroSelect Array cell selection platform, demonstrating that our proprietary reagents can be applied to other automated manufacturing technologies. The agreement gives BioMagnetic Solutions technical direction on new applications, and access to some of the best process developers in the industry. In return, Lonza gains early access to certain BioMagnetic Solutions FerroSelect reagents to complement the growing demand for [the] Cocoon® Platform technology."
"This is an exciting time for us,” Liberti also said. “In late 2021, we achieved ISO 9001:2015 and 13485:2016 certification for our Quality Systems through NQA and have been working steadily to build out an extensive repertoire of cell specific antibodies. The alignment with Lonza helps both companies contribute to expanding access to therapeutic cell selection capabilities across the market with space to grow to meet evolving customer needs."
The collaboration between Gamma Biosciences and Lonza provides a framework for additional clinical grade GMP reagents to be developed. It also opens up the possibility of other collaborations as Gamma Biosciences expands its portfolio of tools and technologies supporting the bioprocessing, vaccine, cell and gene therapy industries.
“It's exciting to see our world-class magnetic research and GMP Ferrofluids and monoclonal antibodies integrated into an automated CAR-T cell manufacturing system like Lonza's Cocoon,” Liberti said. “We look forward to soon launching our automated FerroSelectTM cell selection system for the manufacture of clinical CAR-T cell products for the benefit of patients worldwide.”